Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Indoor Activities

Today's very much an indoors day. While I look for more auditions and also a job that might pay me to skulk about someone's office/shop/home, I'm stuck indoors so I can be as productive as possible and desperately try to live off the rapidly decaying contents of my kitchen cupboards. And on a miserable looking day like today, I couldn't be happier. Sorry to you all who traipsed out of the house while I was still blissfully asleep. The annoying thing is that although I'm indulging myself today on this grey day, I'm spending it doing stuff that will potentially mean that I can't enjoy these days quite so much in the future. All I've done today is apply for things that will take me away from my cosy little bed and means that I can't spend the day convincing myself that because I've got my laptop with me while I'm watching This Morning, that I'm actually working.

But don't worry readers, this poor little soul has been subjected to the elements in the name of actressy pursuits. A couple of years ago I did a Shakespeare festival which meant performing outside every evening for the whole of summer. Now if I lived almost anywhere other than England, this would be a glorious prospect. Instead I was there for one of the wettest summers on record and therefore spent many evenings desperately dragging myself across a university garden in a sodden, mud-trimmed velvet dress. We became fabulously adept at performing during thunderstorms, ensuring our lightning-proof audience members could hear us from behind their rainy evening paraphernalia. I'm not exagerrating when I say that everyone in our cast slipped over at least once while performing (although I'm sure my tally of tumbles took the average number to one that is higher than normal) and by the end we were masters on staying upright while the rain bounced higher than our soaking, corsetted, shivering bodies.

Performing while it's raining cats, dogs, mice, frogs, cows and donkeys is one thing but rehearsing is even harder. At least when you're performing you've got the adrenaline to keep you going but rehearsals can be tedious at best. When you're the focus of the day, rehearsals are joyously hard work but on the days when you're not really needed, it's tortuous. As we were performing outside, we had to rehearse outside and on the few rare days that we had sunshine, it was the bestest thing since sliced baked goods. But watching someone struggle with the intricacies of the Bard while you're trying to avoid drowning in the shadow of one of the world's greatest universities ain't much fun.

Even worse were rehearsals for a children's show that I was part of. Everything was organised very late which meant that the only rehearsal venue we had available to us was the great outdoors. Again, people's trust in the Great British summer totally baffles me. A discovery was made that the roof of the National Theatre could make a useful rehearsal space. The conclusion soon became that it was excellent when sunny but bloody awful when raining. It's nice to know that while a shivering cast were battling through Thumbelina in the pouring rain and howling wind, some of the best theatre in the world was being performed inches below us. We may have failed in the world of rehearsing but the juxtaposition crown remains firmly upon our dampened heads.

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